Chapter 2.3 - Shadow over LondonMature

The door opened and the man quipped with irritation "What is--" His mouth didn't finish that sentence as I pushed him inside, slipping one of my pistol out from it's holster and putting it right under his chin.

"Hello, I'm the new messenger."  I said. "Pleased to meet you, sir."

He slowly backed off and bumped into his ultra-modern glass desk. Meanwhile, I closed the door behind us and kept the handgun aimed at him. He fumbled around and eventually reached for the underside of his desk.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Through my eyes, I could see the faint blur of color that was around where he reached for, that was the reason casters were easy to spot, once used, they remained contaminated with the spent mana, showing an aura. I made that click sound you always hear in movies, which required me to uncock the gun, but sometimes intimidation was more important than a second of being practical.

"Do you know why I'm here?" He nodded. "Good, I won't have to school you. You and the family had a deal, you broke it, normally, the sanction is death. But it seems you'll be escaping that fate."

I went into my front pocket and pulled out a neatly folded sheet of paper and slowly moved forward. I took his hand gently and put it in there. It had a number and the helpful annotation of 'Call me' he glanced at it and then went for his phone, my eyes following the fingers. He dialed in the correct number and I backed off, leaning against the wall.

I took the time to examine the office, keeping my weapon pointed in his direction, finger off the trigger and resting on the guard.

"Nice office, Lots of black metal and glass." I said as he waited for a reply on the phone. On the left wall from the door, wedged between a pair of bookcase was a small table with a coffee machine. I walked toward it and casually took the pot, pouring a mug as if I was at my own house.

The coffee wasn't fresh and has gotten a lot stronger, but due to my vampiric condition, I didn't taste is as much, the taste was just pleasant, augmented by a bucket load of sugar and cream from convenient little packages that hung in a basket. 

He and the boss held a little chat for a moment as I sampled the coffee, it was the real deal, columbian and well prepared, not the synthetic replacement served just about everywhere. It was a lot harder to rely on the slave labor to cultivate the crop since the awakening, with a quarter of the population having changed in some way, it was harder to control them when they had rampaging trolls resistant to bullets or conjure eidolons from the shadows. And turns out that coffee is an inefficient crop to grow so most people preferred to go for better cash crop or something that could at least support a family more efficiently. That wasn't even taking into account climate changes, magical and those due to pollution...

There was a torrent of cold sweat that dripped off the CEO's neck and face, I wasn't quite sure what Frankie was saying, but I figured it was more than merely just about going public with the firm's less ethical work, it probably involved the man's family, who's portrait laid nicely on his desk next to the picture of a young therian woman and him, most probably his mistress.

That's the moment someone choose to barge in, not even bothering to knock... The exerc visibly jumped in surprise. I stepped a little toward the wall, but keeping my weapon drawn, hiding it a little with my arms crossed, the other one holding the mug.

"Miss Rivero, I told you to knock before entering..." He mumbled, not particularly worried about her.

"My apologies, I won't forget next time... Is everything alright?" Her voice seemed familiar... Her eyes saw her boss' and followed to where he was staring, right at me. She slowly turned around and I saw her face again.

"Evening Mi--" I stopped mid-sentence when I recognized the girl from that night watching the club. Of all the person who could have been there, it was her. 

"It's you, that man from the alley!" She said, just as surprised as I was to see her there. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm just a bicycle messenger and your boss generously let me catch my breath in here. Isn't that right, Bossman?"

Her eyes scoured me, it was the first chance she'd had to see me other than the shadows that covered the alley. They briefly stopped at the mid-torso level, the pupil widdened. She saw the gun. Thankfully, she didn't comment on it or worse try to do something. She moved toward the desk and gently dropped the stack of papers there. She seemed to sign something while her boss finished speaking with my own. I could feel the tension in them, even though I was just quietly sipping coffee, waiting. 

"Everything in order?" I asked to the CEO, which I probably should have bothered to memorize the name of, it was on his door, but it escaped me. 

"Yes, Mr." He said. 

"Good. I'll be taking my leave now. Then. Thank you for the coffee, I hope you don't mind, but I'll be keeping the mug." In the awakened world, DNA evidence were no longer the most bothersome thing, essence was even worse. While Jury weren't very convinced, especially since normal people couldn't even look at the evidence it was still a powerful thing to have as you could, with the help of a friendly theurgist send all sort of nasty at people that normally you'd need to be in front of.

I stepped through the door just as someone grabbed my hand. It was the girl. "Who are you?"

"Just a messenger." I broke off from her and closed the door at her nose. I looked around, nobody, and just dropped into the shadows...

The End

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